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How to Stop Caring What Other People Think of You

Madhushree Kelkar
Are you losing your mind and sleep worrying over what other people think of you? Giving too much importance to the opinions held by others can cause problems in your emotional and physical well-being.
Be fearless when it comes to life, and careless when it comes to what people say or think about you.
- Brittany Garrett
At some point of time, most of us get hurt by the words or opinions of others about us. This is because we give too much importance to what others think about us. While it is obvious that such derogatory remarks may affect us emotionally, the damage inflicted by them can be controlled.
Many times, we tend to over think and assume what others actually feel for us. This in turn, disturbs us emotionally. Moreover, we tend do all sorts of things which we may not like, only to seek their approval. This gives a major blow to our individuality and sense of self.
If you want to conquer your emotions (which get affected by what other people think or say about you), you must mold your thoughts correctly. Here are a few guidelines that will help you know how to stop worrying about what other people think.

Don't Pursue the Negative

I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet. ― Mahatma Gandhi
It is essential that you stop assuming that people are thinking negatively about you. On an average, the human brain produces almost 70,000 thoughts every day. The probability of others leaving everything else in the world and spending their time judging you is very less.
It is important that you give up predicting the preconceived notions that people carry about you. Instead of fretting over who is thinking what, you must go ahead and confidently communicate with people. You never know, they may even harbor positive thoughts about you.

Estimate and Accept Worst Case Scenarios

If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change the way you think about it. - Mary Engelbreit
Oftentimes, because we fear the consequences too much, we over think, and thus assume what people are thinking about us. We have an inherent fear of what will happen if they speak ill about us. For example, in an office you really feel pressurized when a colleague thinks that your work is not up to the mark and even conveys the same to the boss.
In such a case, you will have to estimate the worst case scenario. Either the boss will reprimand you, or it will affect your appraisal, or you may even be asked to leave. Once you mentally accept these scenarios, you will find strength and will not get affected by others opinions about you.

Stop Seeking Approval

Don't you ever let a soul in the world tell you that you can't be exactly who you are. ― Lady Gaga
Don't ask people questions like, 'Am I fat?', 'Am I beautiful?', 'Is my work good?', 'Do you think I will be successful?', etc. There are many people in this world who take pleasure in putting others down. And if you seek the advice of such people, there are chances that they will make you feel bad about yourself.
They may not be honest about pointing your flaws; they may go overboard in blaming you, or even offer unwanted criticism. While constructive criticism is appreciated, negative advice may skew your self-esteem and self-worth. Hence, you should not seek approval from others.
However, even if you decide to consult someone, it is important that you analyze the person before seeking his approval. There are many people who will honestly make an effort to help you. All you have to do is tap these people.

You Are Not Born to Please

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. ― Mark Twain
Many times in your quest to get approval of others, you may compromise on your beliefs and your individuality. So much that you agree with everything that others say or do. While this may make you a non-controversial, good person, it will make you unhappy from inside.
Also, there are chances that pleasing certain people will repel others, as they may think you are a person who does not have any opinions of your own. You have to believe that you will do what you like, irrespective of what others think.
Your existence should be independent of the influence of others opinions about you. While being a people-pleaser will push you forward socially, it will not take you a long way ahead in reality.

Focus on the Task and Not on People

It is wise to direct your anger towards problems - not people; to focus your energies on answers - not excuses. - William Arthur Ward
You should never let others opinions deter you from doing something, or let it affect the quality of your work. People may, at times, underestimate you and say that you may not be able to complete a certain task at all. Instead of focusing on the negativity of such people, you should take it up as a challenge and prove them wrong.
People often play mind games to diffuse your focus on the task at hand. Don't allow this to happen to you. If you keep concentrating on what others think about you, it will become difficult for you to rise above your limitations. Imagine, you have participated in a dance contest.
If one of the contestants keeps on rebuking you for your dance, it will affect your performance significantly. No matter what you do, do not allow the words of others to injure you and affect your work.

People Will 'Always' Have Their Opinions

What people in the world think of you is really none of your business. ― Martha Graham
You have to understand that no matter how you feel, people will always have their opinions. And if they are forming negative opinions about you, without really getting to know you, then it speaks more about their personality than yours. Many times, when you meet certain people, it triggers memories which may be either good or bitter.
Their opinion about you will be largely based on the nature of these memories. If they have good memories, they will form a good opinion about you. If they have bad ones, then they may not think favorably about you. However, you have to understand that these things are completely out of your control and you cannot always blame yourself.
At times, there are people who like to form a negative opinion about you irrespective of your good behavior towards them. It is best to ignore such people and move on in life.

Draw the Importance Pie Chart

Those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind. ― Bernard M. Baruch
Draw a pie chart and divide it in various sections. Allot these sections to people and divide them according to the importance that they carry in your life. You will be surprised to see that the people who are truly close to you will get maximum space.
They will be the ones you are comfortable with. You will not bother to think twice about these people as they will not judge you. You will find that the people who enjoy minimum importance in your life will be the ones who will form opinions about you. You will fear these people as they will be judgmental while interacting with you.
However, just give it a thought. Do you really need to care about what these people think about you when they don't matter much in your life? You should rather treasure the opinions of people who are important to you.

Take Pride in your Individuality

What the superior man seeks is in himself; what the small man seeks is in others. - Confucius
Each one of us has a different personality, attitude, and way of living, which sets us apart from others. However, many people get daunted by the influence of others personalities. Not only do they strive to emulate someone else, but also have no sense of self whatsoever.
If you keep on thinking about what others think of you and try to be someone else only to get their approval, it will curb your individuality. You must take immense pride in 'being yourself'. You can boost your confidence by honing your skills, building talent, and developing your personality.
It is important that you are self-assured and assertive about whatever you undertake. Get a reality check, many people will tell you what you lack, but it is important that you do a self-assessment and implement a change only if you feel it is needed.

Learn to Manage Your Emotions

Your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions. - Elizabeth Gilbert
What happens essentially when a person says something 'not-so-good' to you? Your emotions set off on a roller coaster ride. You start questioning yourself about the validity of the remark, or even associate it with a similar past incident. You start blaming yourself and experience emotions like anger, sadness, fear, worry, envy, etc.
There is a simple way to deal with this. You must be able to recognize these negative emotions; you must be aware that they can hurt you, and hence, you must separate them from your thoughts. The more time you spend wallowing your emotions and thinking about the remark, the more you will lament about it.
Don't babysit your negative emotions, they will cause bigger problems. Learn to have selective memory and forget such bitter experiences. Understand that the remark is just a perception of the person, and should not affect you in any way.

What You Need to Know

★ People's perceptions keep on changing.
★ It will help you if you don't care a damn about what they think about you.
★ Don't buy the negativity.
★ People will always think what they have to.
★ Put on your survival instinct.

What You Do Not Need to Know

★ The negativity that others harbor for you.
★ The reason other people hate you.
★ The imaginary things you presume people said about you.
★ Ways to be in other people's favor.
★ Opinions of people who do not matter.
You should celebrate your individuality and accept yourself as who you are. However, if you really find that the other person's opinion is true, and listening to it may prove beneficial, you should go ahead and make positive changes in yourself.
If you find some people to be too negative or aggressive, leave or ignore them, and join a group of positive people. As Eleanor Roosevelt has rightly put it, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." Understand this and don't get affected by what others think or speak about you.